Social Credit Party (Rainier)
|Social Credit Party|
|Founded||14th April 1930|
|Dissolved||11th October 1994|
Progressivism (prior to 1958)
Conservatism (after 1958)
|Political position||Centre to Centre-right|
|Official colours||Green (unofficial)|
Formed in 1930 the Socreds attained massive popularity during the Great Depression where it became the dominant party in rural areas after the collapse of the Conservatives and Liberals (who later merged to form the National Union Party). In 1937 under Austin Alexander Duncan the Socreds formed a majority government starting a string of electoral victories for the next two decades. Although founded on social credit theories the adverse experiences of implementing such policies in Alberta meant that after forming government Duncan jettisoned social credit policies from the Socreds agenda and promoted a progressive Keynesian policies to deal with the depression. The party became a catch-all party with its supporters including progressive populists, rural conservatives and former NUP voters who opposed the rapidly rising Labour Party's socialist policies. This combined with the upsurge of patriotism during World War Two ensured Duncan who lead the party to victory through five federal elections (1937, 1940, 1943, 1946, 1949). Following the war the Socreds promoted post-war reconstruction and economic prudence, creating a modest welfare state whilst heavily supporting a tough tariff scheme to protect their core supporters from farming communities. During this time provincial branches of the party held power in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia where they also abandoned orthodox social credit theory but instead promoted right-wing populist and socially conservative positions
Ill health led to Duncan's retirement in 1950 and was succeeded by a Methodist minister, Robin Matthews. Matthews came from the centre-left progressive wing of the party in comparison to the growing strength of the conservative wing led by Alberta Premier Ernest Manning who opposed Matthews moves to promote a more independent Rainian identity from Britain and expand the scope of the federal government through the creation of a more expansive welfare state. After winning elections in 1951 and 1954 in 1957 the Socreds large majority was reduced to a minority by a resurgent National Union party whose new leader, Edward Henderson, appealed to similar rural populist themes as the Socreds and an emboldened Labour party. Matthews opted to form a minority government with Labour support. However this move alienated the conservative wings of the party leading to Socred MP's from Montana, BC and Alberta to vote against the government in 1958 leading to new elections. The 1958 election saw the Socreds decimated as the NUP and to a lesser extent Labour took a large amount of Socred seats and votes, relegating them to a third party.
The 1960's saw the Socreds devolve into infighting between the progressive wing led by Matthews and the conservative wing led by Manning. By the 1967 election Matthews had been expelled from the party with the Socreds firmly establishing themselves as a conservative rural based party with its support for protectionism and decentralisation. Following the 1976 election the Socreds supported a minority NUP government under Frederick Joseph, but withdrew support in 1978 due to disagreements over agricultural tariffs. During the 1980's the Socreds declined in vote as the NUP became the most popular party across its old rural strongholds. In 1982 the Socreds again supported a NUP government under Michael Chamieh, but disagreements over economic policy meant that the Socreds with Labour support were able to bring down the government in 1984. At the 1984 election the Socreds were reduced to just 4 seats, a figure they would struggle to improve on in the next elections. At the 1990 election the Socreds lost all parliamentary representation. With no Socred MP's being elected at the 1993 election the party decided to officially dissolve itself.